Dengue dominated the health concerns of Bangaloreans this year. Over 1,000 people in the City tested positive for the disease, a situation worsened by the steady build up of garbage. Intermittent rains in the City allowed water to collect in plastic debris and in coconut shells, turning them into breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
The government was slow to respond to the crisis, even after Health Minister Aravind Limbavali, speaking at the recent legislature session in Belgaum, admitted that health officials had not disclosed all details about dengue cases, including deaths. Added to the lack of clarity was the conflicting information about dengue positive cases.
Health officials only considered reports of positive cases from government laboratories and chose to disregard reports from private hospitals.
Although official records maintain that there have been only 1,000 dengue cases, including four confirmed deaths, the actual figure is higher.
Efforts at treating dengue cases were hindered by a shortage of blood platelets in most blood banks in Bangalore. All dengue patients need not be administered platelets. Yet, there were several instances durign which the blood banks ran out of them.
The BBMP’s health department conducted special surveys of mosquito breeding grounds at under-construction sites. The Palike health officers penalised the contractors and owners of some of the buildings for not maintaining hygiene. Dengue made news not only in the City, but also throughout the country, with the Union health ministry claiming that there were over 35,000 dengue positive cases reported in the country in 2012.
This year malnourished children in Karnataka also made news. As of October, nearly 34.71 lakh [3.471 million] children in the zero-six age group were weighed in the anganwadis across Karnataka by the Department of Women and Child Development to determine their growth.
The Department categorised 56,938 children as ‘severely’ malnourished and 9,61,310 as ‘moderately’ malnourished. After a public interest litigation was filed before the High Court, on the death of children due to malnutrition in Raichur in 2011, the government decided to provide a supplementary diet of milk and eggs from December first week to all anganwadi children in Bidar, Gulbarga, Yadgir, Raichur and Koppal districts.